C-sections and induced deliveries dropped during COVID
There was a 6.5% drop in both C-sections and induced deliveries in the first month of the pandemic in the U.S. with a sustained drop thereafter, according to a study published today in the journal Pediatrics.
Details: In the study, which is the first large-scale examination of COVID-era birth data, researchers from Georgia Tech's School of Economics looked at records of nearly 39 million U.S. births from 2010 to 2020.
- They also used data from the National Center for Health Statistics to forecast expected premature births from March to December of 2020 and compared the predictions to the actual numbers.
- That number remained on average 0.35 percentage points below the predicted values, translating to 350 fewer preterm C-sections and induced deliveries per 100,000 live births, or 10,000 fewer overall.
What they're saying: More studies are needed, but researchers said they believe the reductions were the likely result of fewer prenatal visits due to social distancing.
- "We know for certain that doctors' interventions cause preterm delivery, and for good reason most of the time," assistant professor Daniel Dench, the paper's lead author, said in a statement.
- "So, when I saw the change in preterm births, I thought, if anything changed preterm delivery, it probably had to be some change in how doctors were treating patients."
The big picture: The study offers yet another example of how the pandemic drastically changed care in the U.S. and could impact patient outcomes.